Matters of life and death

Matters of life and death

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  • Created by: Jasmine
  • Created on: 09-05-11 20:18

Why Catholics believe in life after death

resurrection - the belief that, after death, the body stays in the grave until the end of the world, when it is raised.

- main catholic belief that Jesus rose from the dead. Recorded in all four Gospels that Jesus was crucified and buried. Gospels record different resurrection. If Jesus rose from the dead there must be life after death

- St paul teaches that people will have a resurrection like that of Jesus, and will have a spiritual resurrection body given to them by God

- The major creeds of the church teach that Jesus rose from the dead and both the creeds and the magisterium teach there is life after death. Good catholics should follow these teachings and so believe in life after death

- many believe in life after death because it gives their life meaning and purpose. feel that for life to end at death does not make sence and a life after death in which people will be judged on how they live this life with the good rewarded and the evil punished, makes sense of this life.

-immortality of the soul - the idea that the soul lives on after the death of the body. most catholics believe in this.

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How beliefs about life after death affect the live

- Believe they will be judged by God after death. if they lead a good catholic life they will be allowed into heaven. Means catholics will try and live a good life following bible and church teachings

- living a good catholic life means following scripture, tradition and teaching authority of the church. also following the teaching of Jesus that the two greatest commandments are to love God and love your neighbour as yourself. Catholics lives will be affected as they try to love God by praying and leading a good life

- Trying to love your neighbour as yourself will have an affect on a catholic's life. Following Jesus' teaching means they help anyone in need and explain the work of christian charities e.g. CAFOD

- believe that sin prevents you from entering heaven. Dying with unforgiven sins means you go to purgatory. Catholics will try to avoid commiting sins in their life to go to heaven. they also believe life has meaning and purpose.

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Non-religious reasons for believing in life after

Near-Death experience - when someone about to die has an out-of-body experience

- when you are clinically dead for a period of time and come back to life

- doctors have recalled such events

- examples of near death experiences

- if near death experiences are true then there is a heaven and there is life after death but this is not the same as resurrection

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Evidence for a spirit world

-paranormal - unexplained things which are thought to have spiritual causes, for example, ghosts, mediums

- Ghosts and ouija boards give clear evidence of spirits or souls surviving death. this proves there must be life after death

- clearest evidence is from mediums (people who claim to have the gifst of communicating between material world and spirit world)

- mediums exist in all countries and have become more popular recently.

- strong evidence of mediums knowing things about people that only close loves ones would know.

- if mediums can contact the dead in a spirit world, then there must be a life after death

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Evidence of reincarnation

reincarnation - the belief that, after death, souls are reborn in a new body

- sikhs, buddists and hindu's believe that life after death involves the soul being reborn into another body.

- an example of this is in Inida, when a muslim baby born with a tail is believed to be the reincarnation of of Hindu God. If this is true, there must be life after death

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Why some people do not believe in life after death

- evidence of paranormal has been challenged by scientists and most beliefs about life after death mean the soul and mind must live on without the body. science shows that the mind cannot survive without the body, so when the body dies, the mind must also die.

- different religions have different ideas about life after death. if there was life after death, they would all say and believe the same thing. there is also a huge difference in what different religions believe about life after death

- there is no place for life after death to take place. space journeys have shown there is no heaven above the sky

- if people do not believe in God, if there is no God, there is no spirit world, therefore no life after death

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The nature of abortion

abortion is a controversial issue because:

- many people believe life DOES begin at conception therefore abortion IS taking a human life, however, many people believe life DOES NOT begin at conception therefore abortion is NOT taking a human life. 

- many non-religious people believe that a woman should have the right to do what she wants with her own body. they might argue that an unwanted pregnancy is no different to an unwanted tumour, however, many religious people believe that the unborn child's right to life is greater than the mother's rights

- some people argue that the time limit should be reduced to 18 or 20 weeks so that if the foetus were to be born at that time, it wouldnt survive

- there are also arguments about whether medical staff should have to carry out abortions. some say they shouldnt if it goes against their conscience; others say it is like any other medical procedure

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the catholic attitude to abortion

all abortions are wrong because:

- life belongs to God, so only God has the right to take away a life, including a pregnacy.

- life begins at conception so abortion is taking a life and this is banned in the 10 commandments

- they should follow the teaching of the Catechism that all abortion is murder

- counselling and adoption are always alternatives to abortions for women who have become pregnant as a result of **** so that good can come out of evil

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Liberal protestant attitude to abortion

think abortion is wrong, but must be allowed in certain circumstances because:

- life does not begin at conception and therefore it is not taking a life and not going against the 10 commandments

- Jesus' command to love your neighbour means it is the duty of christians to remove suffering, which abortion does as it may be the most loving thing to do

- sanctity of life (the belief that life is holy and belongs to God) can be broken in things such as just wars, so why not in abortion if the mothers life is at risk?

- christianity is concerned with justice. if abortions were banned an unjust situation would arise as the rich would pay for abortions abroad but the poor would turn to 'backstreet' abortionists

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euthanasia - the painless killing of someone dying from a painful disease

assisted suicide - providing a seriously ill person wth the means to commit suicide

non - voluntary euthanasia - ending someone's life painlessly when they are unable to ask, but you have good reason for thinking they would want you to do so

quality of life - the idea that life must have some benefits for it to be worth living

voluntary euthanasia - ending life painlessly when someone in great pain asks for death

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why euthanasia is a controversial issue

people want euthanasia to remain illegal because:

- there is always likely to be doubt whether is what the person really wants e.g. a plan behind it

- there is also a problem as to whether the disease will end the life; a cure might be found for the disease

- it is the job of doctors to save lives, not end them. would patients trust their doctors who kill their patients?

- people might change their mind, but then it would be too late

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many people want euthanasia to be made legal because:

- discoveries in medicine mean that people who would have died are being kept alive, often in agony, and should have the right to die

- doctors have the right to switch off life support machines if they think a patient has no chance of recovery, and allow people who have been in a coma for years to die. so euthanasi is already somewhat legal

- people have a right to commit suicide, so why not give them the right to ask doctors to assist their suicide if they are too weak to do it alone

- just as doctor can now switch off life-support machines, so judges have said doctors can stop treatment

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catholic and liberal protestant attitude to euthan

believe that euthanasia is wrong however switching off a life support machine, refusing treatment and giving pain killers that shorten lives is not because:

- believe in sanctity of life (the belief that life is holy and belongs to God) so it is up to God who dies, not humans

- they regard euthanasia as murder, which is forbidden in the 10 commandments

- if doctors say someone is 'brain dead', they have already died, then switching of the life support machine is accepting what God has already decided

- if you give painkillers to a dying person in great pain, and they kill them, this is not murder because the intention was to remove their pain, not to kill them (doctrine of double effect)

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few christians attitudes to euthanasia

believe that euthanasia is acceptable in certain circumstances because:

- medical advances mean it is hard to know what God's wished about someone's death are. God may want someone to die when doctors are keeping them alive

- teaching of Jesus to love your neighbout can be used to justify assisting suicide as it might be the most loving thing to do

- basic human right to have control over your body and what people do with it. people have a right to commit suicide, so why not a right to ask for euthanasia

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other christian attitudes to euthanasia

believe that any form of euthanasia including switching off life support machines is wrong because:

- they take bible teachings literally and the bible forbids suicide

- euthanasia includes switching off life support machines, large doses of pain killers or refusing treatment because life is being ended by humans, not God

- all forms of euthanasia are murder, which is banned in the 10 commandments

- believe that life is sacred and should only be taken by God. the bible says that life and death decisions belong to God alone

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the media and matters of life and death

arguments that the medie should not be free to criticise what religions say about matters of life and death:

- believe criticising what religions say is a way of stirring up religious hatred, which is banned by the Racial and Religous Hatred act of 2007

- many religious believers believe the freedom of the media should be limited because of the offence criticism attitudes can bring e.g. when a danish newspaper published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, riots occured in some countries

- some religious believers believe that criticising what religious leaders say about matters of life and death is close to the crime of blasphemy

- some religious people feel that religious statements are based on what God says and so are beyond human criticism

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the media and matters of life and death

arguments that the media should be free to criticise what religions say about matters of life and death:

- freedom of expression is a basic human right which is needed for democracy to work. people need to know what is going on in there own country. for this they need the media, if the media have freedom of expression they  must be able to criticise religious attitudes on this matter

- if religious leaders use the media to make statements on this (as they do on things like stem cell research) they must be prepared for the media to criticise those statements

- in a multi-faith society must be freedom of religious belief + expression, so the media have the right to question and even criticise those bliefs

- life and death issues are so important to everyone that people just want to know the right view. this would be difficult if religions were allowed to put forward views that no one could criticise

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Causes of world poverty

Natural disasters:

- many LEDC's are situated in areas of the world where natural disasters can destroy many thousands of homes and the farmland on which people depend


- most LEDC's have to borrow money from the banks of developed countries to survive and begin to develop. however the amount of interest they have to pay can actually make the countries poorer


- many LEDC's have been affected by wars. this destroys crops, homes, schools, hospitals, etc, causing even more poverty. also force people to leave their homes and become refugees in other safer countries. neighbouring countries may have been developing but with sudden arrival of refugees with no money or food could make that country poor again

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Causes of world poverty

Unfair trade:

- world is controlled by the rich countries of the world who decide the prices paid for products from LEDC's.


- this disease is killing many people in LEDC's. the loss of so many earners and the growing number of orphans is causing many poor countries to become poorer

other factors:

- lack of education means that young people in LEDC's have few or no skills

- lack of clean, fresh water leads to disease

- short life expectancy and large families

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How CAFOD is trying to end world poverty

Development programmes in LEDC's:
- opening clinics and training health workers, helping to give street children an education so that they can earn a living, helping to set up savings schemes + different farming projects so farmers are not wiped out by natural disasters

Disasters and emergencies:
- disaster fund to deal with natural disasters and refugees: send food, anitbiotic and shelters to victims of natural disasters + supplies to war refugees

Raising awareness:
- educating people and churches of england and wales about development and how catholics can help. publish a newspaper, 'Friday', and educational material

Speaking out on behalf of poor communities to bring social justice:
- heavily involved in 'Make poverty history' campaign. largest ever world campaign to end poverty. now involved in trade justice campaign to change the rules of world trade so that poor countries can work themselves out of poverty

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Why CAFOD is trying to end world poverty

- according to new testament, riches must be used for the help of others, especially the poor

- Parable of sheep and goats, catholics wants to help Jesus and so help the poor and suffering

- parable also teaches that helping the poor is the way to heaven, and catholics want to get to heaven

- sermon on the mount, jesus taught that christians should share their money and help the poor

- catholic church teaches that christians have a duty to help the poor and suffering

- Golden Rule for catholics is to treat other people in the way you would like to be treated, and everyone would want to be helped if they were in poverty

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Thank you very much. This was very helpful.

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